How to turn a negative into a positive
Sometimes in sales, as in life, things just don't get off to a good start. For whatever reason, there will some situations where you begin to realise that things just aren't going well. It could be a personal relationship issue - where you and your prospect have just failed to hit it off, or it could be any one of a number of complicated business reasons that mean that they feel now just isn't a good time for them to be talking to a sales person. Whatever the reason, here at Big Motoring World we believe there are a number of great strategies that can help to turn things around. We've based these on the ideas of Kathleen Kelley Reardon, a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business - and we think they're great. Here's what she suggests you can try:
Cast the conversation in a different light. If things have taken a negative turn, then reframe what you're saying to them in a different way. The example that Reardon gives is that you're being accused of just trying to get a sale to make money - and how you can reframe this to say that you are actually trying to find a way to help them - and that you're prepared to walk away if you don't think you can.
Here, you're taking the negative language used by your prospect, and rephrasing it in a positive way - using another person's words to shift the mood of the conversation is a powerful tool.
So, things don't always go as planned, and it's possible that your prospect has had a bad experience with a product or service you've sold them previously. The trick here is to emphasise all the other positive experiences they've had with you, to show them that one particular failure shouldn't be allowed to define their overall experience.
This is a way of prompting your prospect to look again at something negative that they've said about you or the product that you're selling, and to reconsider. This doesn't need to be confrontational - Reardon suggests phrases such as ‘Surely there’s another way to say that’ or ‘Did you mean what I think I heard?’ as ways of giving them the chance to think again.
Asking a prospect to clarify what they're saying - if it sounds negative - is a better option than just instantly assuming they're being negative about what you're selling. The lesson here is not to be immediately on the defensive - don't just assume that they're attacking you until you've dug a bit deeper.
Keeping control of your emotions - whatever the provocation - will mean that you will always hold the advantage in any sales situation. Sometimes people are rude - but you can take this as an opportunity to simply dig deeper into why they're so unhappy - and to see how you can help.
This is all about helping your prospect to keep a clear head. It might be that they're feeling hassled and negative because they’ve been asked to take on extra work - the opportunity here is for you as a sales person to recognise this, to re-focus them on the most important priorities in their role and to then help them to see how you can support them.